Let us strive to touch lightly the chief summits, here and there, of that intricate, most empty, mournful Business,--which was really once a Fact in practical Europe, not the mere nightmare of an Attorney's Dream;--and indicate, so far as indispensable, how the young Friedrich, Friedrich's Sister, Father, Mother, were tribulated, almost heart-broken and done to death, by means of it.
IMPERIAL MAJESTY ON THE TREATY OF UTRECHT.
Kaiser Karl VI., head of the Holy Romish Empire at this time, was a handsome man to look upon; whose life, full of expense, vicissitude, futile labor and adventure, did not prove of much use to the world. Describable as a laborious futility rather. He was second son of that little Leopold, the solemn little Herr in red stockings, who had such troubles, frights, and runnings to and fro with the sieging Turks, liberative Sobieskis, acquisitive Louis Fourteenths; and who at length ended in a sea of futile labor, which they call the Spanish Succession War.
This Karl, second son, had been appointed "King of Spain" in that futile business; and with much sublimity, though internally in an impoverished condition, he proceeded towards Spain, landing in England to get cash for the outfit;--arrived in Spain; and roved about there as Titular-King for some years, with the fighting Peterboroughs, Galways, Stahrembergs; but did no good there, neither he nor his Peterboroughs. At length, his Brother Joseph, Father Leopold's successor, having died, [17th April, 1711.] Karl came home from Spain to be Kaiser. At which point, Karl would have been wise to give up his Titular Kingship in Spain; for he never got, nor will get, anything but futile labor from hanging to it. He did hang to it nevertheless; and still, at this date of George's visit and long afterwards, hangs,--with notable obstinacy. To the woe of men and nations: punishment doubtless of his sins and theirs!--
Kaiser Karl shrieked mere amazement and indignation, when the English tired of fighting for him and it. When the English said to their great Marlborough: "Enough, you sorry Marlborough! You have beaten Louis XIV. to the suppleness of wash-leather, at our bidding; that is true, and that may have had its difficulties: but, after all, we prefer to have the thing precisely as it would have been without any fighting. You, therefore, what is the good of you? You are a--person whom we fling out like sweepings, now that our eyesight returns, and accuse of common stealing. Go and be--!"
Nothing ever had so disgusted and astonished Kaiser Karl as this treatment,--not of Marlborough, whom he regarded only as he would have done a pair of military boots or a holster-pistol of superior excellence, for the uses that were in him,--but of the Kaiser Karl his own sublime self, the heart and focus of Political Nature; left in this manner, now when the sordid English and Dutch declined spending blood and money for him farther. "Ungrateful, sordid, inconceivable souls," answered Karl, "was there ever, since the early Christian times, such a martyr as you have now made of me!" So answered Karl, in diplomatic groans and shrieks, to all ends of Europe. But the sulky English and Allies, thoroughly tired of paying and bleeding, did not heed him; made their Peace of Utrecht [Peace of Utrecht, 11th April, 1713; Peace of Rastadt (following upon the Preliminaries of Baden), 6th March, 1714.] with Louis XIV., who was now beaten supple; and Karl, after a year of indignant protests and futile attempts to fight Louis on his own score, was obliged to do the like. He has lost the Spanish crown; but still holds by the shadow of it; will not quit that, if he can help it. He hunts much, digests well; is a sublime Kaiser, though internally rather poor, carrying his head high; and seems to himself, on some sides of his life, a martyred much-enduring man.
IMPERIAL MAJESTY HAS GOT HAPPILY WEDDED.
Kaiser Karl, soon after the time of going to Spain had decided that a Wife would be necessary. He applied to Caroline of Anspach, now English Princess of Wales, but at that time an orphaned Brandenburg-Anspach Princess, very Beautiful, graceful, gifted, and altogether unprovided for; living at Berlin under the guardianship of Friedrich the first King. Her young Mother had married again,--high enough match (to Kur-Sachsen, elder Brother of August the Strong, August at that time without prospects of the Electorate);--but it lasted short while: Caroline's Mother and Saxon Stepfather were both now, long since, dead. So she lived at Berlin brilliant though unportioned;--with the rough cub Friedrich Wilhelm much following her about, and passionately loyal to her, as the Beast was to Beauty; whom she did not mind except as a cub loyal to her; being five years older than he. [Forster, i. 107.] Indigent bright Caroline, a young lady of fine aquiline features and spirit, was applied for to be Queen of Spain; wooer a handsome man, who might even be Kaiser by and by. Indigent bright Caroline at once answered, No. She was never very orthodox in Protestant theology; but could not think of taking up Papistry for lucre's and ambition's sake: be that always remembered on Caroline's behalf.